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Coronavirus: City of Kelowna says bylaw officers will provide education, warnings during pandemic

A healthcare worker walks in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) outside Wyckoff Heights Medical Center during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, New York, U.S., April 2, 2020. Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters

The City of Kelowna says its bylaw officers will provide assistance during the coronavirus pandemic, but that when it comes to issuing tickets to public health order scofflaws, Interior Health will be the one doling out fines.

On Friday, the city issued a press release on the subject following last week’s announcement by the provincial government that it was enlisting the help of municipal bylaw officers in enforcing public health orders.

In the Okanagan, that news translated into bylaw officers providing education roles and giving warnings, but not handing out tickets to those ignoring public health orders.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Bylaw officers in Okanagan aiming to educate, warn public about COVID-19

“With further clarification from Interior Health this week, bylaw enforcement will focus first on educating members of the public,” David Gazley, bylaw services manager for Kelowna, said in Friday’s press release.

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“This is so important to ensure the measures being taken are effective in limiting the spread of the virus and protecting the health of residents.”

The city said its bylaw officers will assist Interior Health by notifying businesses and members of the public who may be contravening public health orders.

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“They can also issue formal warnings when warranted and will contact Interior Health when ongoing non-compliance is occurring,” said the city.

“Officers will also accompany health officers to deliver orders or tickets to those who refuse to comply with public health orders, if that’s needed.”

Global News has reached out to Interior Health regarding health officers and tickets, including asking what the minimum and maximum fines are.

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Meanwhile, the city says residents can report health-order scofflaws, be they businesses or members of the public, by calling 250-469-8686 between 6 a.m. and midnight, or by emailing bylaw@kelowna.ca.

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The city added that significant and urgent concerns that arise beyond these hours can be directed to the RCMP non-emergency line at 250-762-3300.

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